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19 Dec 19. Companies gear up for next phase in Britain’s Skynet 6 program. A competition to run the ground elements of a new British military satellite communications network reaches its first major milestone Dec. 20 with interested bidders due to return a request for information from the Ministry of Defence.
Information on just who has responded to the MoD’s pre-qualification questionnaire is scarce following the department’s decision to impose a nondisclosure agreement on bidders for the ground station element of the Skynet 6 satellite communications program. The program aims to boost British capabilities in the sector out to 2040 and beyond.
The ministry clamped down on bidders publicly declaring an interest in the program but only after clearing Serco to publicly name its team on Nov. 5, the day the pre-qualification questionnaire was released.
Nobody is saying quite why the change of mind happened but a screwup seems to be the most likely explanation.
British-based services company Serco announced it was teaming with Lockheed Martin, IT specialist CGI and satellite operator Inmarsat to bid for what is known as the Service Delivery Wrap portion of Skynet 6.
The names of other contenders are a matter of speculation for the moment but Airbus Defence & Space, BT, US satellite and communications specialist Viasat and a Babcock partnership with Boeing are expected to be among the major contenders for the deal.
Of the companies in question, only Boeing confirmed that it was participating in the race. Serco declined to provide any more details than were included in their press announcement.
The MoD is expected to name up to four contenders to be issued with an invitation to negotiate by early spring next year.
This is, of course, subject to any changes imposed by the new Conservative government’s upcoming defense review, which among other things is focusing heavily on the MoD’s procurement record.
With military space figuring positively in the Conservative manifesto, some issue experts think the sector will be largely immune from cuts, though not everyone agrees.
The MoD announced it was to go ahead with the Service Delivery Wrap contest at the DSEI exhibition in London in September.
Speaking at the show, Julian Knight, head of networks at the MoD’s Information Systems and Services organisation (ISS) said, “This competition is a significant opportunity for industry to work at the very heart of our program – delivering improved flight and ground operations.”
“We are seeking an innovative partner that will ensure effective and consistent defense satellite communications and will look to continually maximize performance and value for money,” said Knight.
Airbus is the current incumbent ground station operator, having run the capability as part of a long-running Skynet 5 satellite private finance initiative providing beyond line of sight communications for the British military.
Serco already supplies many of the personnel running the Skynet 5 ground stations under a contract to Airbus.
The ground station element of Skynet 5 comes to an end on Aug. 31, 2022. The winner of the Service Delivery Wrap contest is scheduled to commence work in 2021, starting with a one-year transition phase.
With an overall program value in the vicinity of £6bn, Skynet 6 is a key part of a rapidly growing interest in military space by the armed forces and the new Conservative government.
The MoD and Airbus have been in protracted negotiations over the supply of a single satellite known as Skynet 6A to provide assured capacity to the British military as the Skynet 5 spacecraft start to age.
But faced with the possible delay in the delivery of the satellite, the MoD’s top civil servant, Stephen Lovegrove, revealed in late October that to keep the program on track the two sides were working on a deal to purchase long-lead items ahead of a full contract signature. Those discussions continue.
Britain wants the satellite in service by 2025 to bridge any capability gap ahead of a new generation of spacecraft expected to start entering service in 2028 as part of the Skynet 6 program, known as Enduring Capability.
That component will determine future system architectures, followed by provision and operation of satellites and ground infrastructure starting around 2028.
The Enduring Capability requirement is expected to start moving forward soon and will likely attract the attention of suppliers like Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Viasat. All the US companies are growing their space presence in the U.K. (Source: Defense News)
BATTLESPACE Comment: BT Switch off! Having had firsthand experience with the shoddy and useless customer service from BT, the Editor has no surprises with the about Party Manifesto pledge to nationalise BT Openreach! In error whilst matching a 50% lower quarterly estimate from Vodafone, BT pleaded with the Editor to stay with BT and offered to match Vodafone, a deal which the Editor agreed to. Subsequently BT then switched off the broadband connection and refused to reconnect until January 2nd even with admitting it was their error. Vodafone came to the rescue and supplied a Mobile Router which restored services. BT seem to be spending most of their earnings on paying for football coverage rather than new technology. If they can switch off a consumer wrongly, this put’s a question mark over BT’s offer to manage the Skynet 6 satcom service contract for the MoD. Will they switch off soldiers at a moment’s notice, putting their lives in danger?
19 Dec 19. Inmarsat bets the Pentagon needs more bandwidth in the Middle East. Inmarsat is adding a new communications satellite to its fleet that is focused on Europe and the Middle East in response to what it sees as increased military demand for commercial bandwidth in that region.
Launched Nov. 26, the Global Xpress 5 satellite is expected to enter service in early 2020 following on orbit testing. Inmarsat’s newest satellite offers more capacity than the rest of their Global Xpress constellation combined. According to Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, senior vice president of government strategy and policy at Inmarsat Government, the first three satellites essentially provided initial operating capability for their global broadband service, with each one covering one third of the globe and a fourth satellite acting as a spare.
“We’ve got our worldwide coverage, and now we look and see where do we need additional capacity,” said Cowen-Hirsch said. “GX5, adding to that mix, looks at an area where we’ve got increased and significant demand. It is a very, very dense environment for commercial as well as military. So we’ve got a satellite that was specifically put to cover that particular region.”
That decision to task one of the first geographically focused satellite on the Middle East and Europe was driven partly by increased commercial demand, but also by needs from the U.S. military.
“When you talk about space, you hear about the threats from Russia, China and the like. But that’s all the on orbit domain. When you look at what’s happening on the ground and where military troops are deployed and where you have very active operations, (that’s) both certainly in the Middle East (…) and what’s going on in the NATO region,” said Cowen-Hirsch.
Specifically, Cowen-Hirsch says the military is interested in commercially-provided Ka band, which complements Wideband Global SATCOM system and provides more flexibility. The new satellite features steerable beams that can augment bandwidth in a given area within that field.
The GX5 satellite will primarily focus on servicing the commercial maritime and aviation passenger wi-fi markets. The company plans to add several more Global Xpress satellites in the next four years, including two payloads delivering coverage in the Arctic. Those satellites are expected to have greater beam focusing capabilities and software defined flexibility, said Cowen-Hirsch. (Source: Defense News)
20 Dec 19. Ethiopia launches first satellite into space. Ethiopia launched its first satellite into space on Friday, as more sub-Saharan African nations strive to develop space programs to advance their development goals and encourage scientific innovation.
Before dawn on Friday, senior officials and citizens gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre just north of the capital Addis Ababa to watch a live broadcast of the satellite’s launch from a space station in China.
“This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity,” deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnen said in a speech at the launch event broadcast on state television.
The satellite was designed by Chinese and Ethiopian engineers and the Chinese government paid about $6m of the more than $7m manufacturing costs, Solomon Belay, director general of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, told Reuters.
“Space is food, space is job creation, a tool for technology…sovereignty, to reduce poverty, everything for Ethiopian to achieve universal and sustainable development,” he said.
The satellite will be used for weather forecast and crop monitoring, officials said.
The African Union adopted a policy on African space development in 2017 and declared that space science and technology could advance economic progress and natural resource management on the continent. (Source: Reuters)
19 Dec 19. 16,000 AFSPC Head To Space Force; What About The Rest? And there are rumbles about a bureaucratic food fight between planning cells at Air Force headquarters here and at AFSPC in Colorado Springs.
Some 16,000 people — civilians and airmen — will be shifted from Air Force Space Command to the Space Force upon its stand-up sometime early next year.
“It’s a lot of people,” said Kaitlyn Johnson, who has been tracking the Space Force concept at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, although about the number DoD has been projecting. She noted that AFSPC currently numbers 26,000 personnel from military to administrative staff, although the Congressional Budget Office estimates there are 23,000 full time personnel in all of the Defense Department, excluding the intelligence agencies. But not all of those folks are actually well-versed in the space mission, given the Air Force’s practice of rapid rotation and its past emphasis on general, rather than specialized, training.
“One of the issues from the start has been how the Air Force can dig out the space people” who may or may not be working in AFSPC or a space-related job, she said. “Can people volunteer?”
Todd Harrison, who heads CSIS’s Aerospace Project, concurred that finding the right people will be a big headache for the service, and the fact that they have a hard number already means they must have been doing some serious pre-planning.
That said, Harrison stressed that the big question is actually the other 10,000 billets that are not being transferred to Space Force. “What happens to the other 10,000 billets, and what are they being withheld? You don’t want the Air Force to withhold support personnel, so the Space Force then has to go back and hire new people to do those functions — and you end up with bloat.”
Indeed, bureaucratic bloat is what both sides of Capitol Hill have been extremely worried about, and the reason that both the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) setting policy and the appropriations bill put solid bumpers around DoD’s freedom of action.
“For every single person that doesn’t get transferred, the Air Force has to be able to explain why not,” Harrison said.
The NDAA, expected to be signed by President Donald Trump tonight, prevents Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett from creating any new Space Force billets. She’s not allowed to create any new ones either, stopping the service from getting around the restrictions. The spending bill chops the service’s budget request of $72.4m for launching the headquarters to only $40m, although in all fairness that could simply reflect a pro-rating for the short fiscal year given the lateness of the appropriation.
Johnson has a new analysis out that compares the 2020 NDAA to the president’s request, the Senate version, and the House version that tracks specific changes.
CSIS last November published a study of possible Space Force structures and the attendant costs of running each, with one of the options being a Space Corps similar to the structure Congress has approved, where the Space Force is a separate Title 10 military service but underneath the Department of the Air Force. In that study, Harrison calculated that such a structure would have an annual budget of about $11 billion.
So we have a baseline estimate to compare to whatever the Air Force comes up with, at least.
Meanwhile, we are hearing rumblings about a turf war between planning cells at Air Force headquarters here and at AFSPC in Colorado Springs.
Maj. Gen. Clint Crosier is in charge of Barrett’s “war room” here for planning process for the Space Force. He told me earlier this month at the West Coast Aerospace Forum in Santa Monica that his group of senior officers had put together pre-plans based on possible outcomes from the NDAA in order to move out “from day one.”
Meanwhile, however, Gen. Jay Raymond — whom the NDAA specifically allows to become the head of the Space Force for the first year — has his own planning task force that has been seeking to shape the new force. Raymond, as Breaking D readers know well, currently wears two hats: head of AFSPC and head of the new combatant command for space, Space Command, stood up in August.
Harrison noted that filling up billets in Space Command while simultaneously shifting people to the Space Force could be another problem for the Air Force, given the relatively small pool of space professionals. For example, there are also rumors that a number of Air Force personnel now on loan to the National Reconnaissance Office — which comprises both Air Force and CIA personnel –are being shifted over to Space Command. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
18 Dec 19. USAF will need terminals that work with more than GPS. Congress wants the Air Force to develop a prototype receiver capable of using navigation signals provided by other countries, which could increase the resilience of the military’s position, navigation and timing equipment.
The primary source of the military’s PNT data is the Global Positioning System, a satellite system operated by the Air Force. But with adversaries developing GPS jamming technology and anti-satellite weapons that could potentially knock out one or more of those satellites, Congress wants a receiver capable of utilizing other global navigation satellite systems.
The annual defense policy bill, which was passed by both chambers of the legislature this week, calls on the Air Force to develop a prototype receiver capable of utilizing multiple global navigation satellite systems in addition to GPS, such as the European Union’s Galileo and Japan’s QZSS satellites. The belief is that if the GPS signal is degraded or denied, war fighters could switch to one of those other systems to get the PNT data they need.
According to Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, the provision represents an evolution from the Department of Defense’s stance on foreign GNSS signals from 15 years ago.
“When Galileo was first announced, there was a big debate within the Pentagon about whether to cooperate with the Europeans or try and kill it,” Weeden wrote to C4ISRNET in a Dec. 18 email. “The big driver there was that the Europeans were going to park their protected signal on top of M-code and then sell their service as being unjammable by the Americans (assuming that the US couldn’t jam the protected Galileo signal without also interfering with M-Code).”
Efforts to kill Galileo ultimately died, Weeden noted, although the EU did move their protected GNSS signal off of M-Code, a more secure military version of the GPS signal that is in development. That concession and the subsequent development of GPS jamming capabilities by Russia and China has changed the thinking on Galileo and other GNSS signals.
“It seems the Pentagon has decided that leveraging Galileo will make their PNT capabilities more robust as Russia or China would need to jam both of the separate military signals,” said Weeden. “There’s some engineering and technical wizardry still to be worked out to create a good multi-GNSS receiver but it’s doable.”
Congress wants the Air Force to report on the benefits and risks of each potential GNSS signal, and it fences 90 percent of the funding for the Military GPS User Equipment Program until lawmakers receive that report. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Dec 19. Teledyne e2v HiRel and GaN Systems Unveil High Reliability 650V GaN Power HEMT. High voltage GaN Power HEMT now shipping in both top- and bottom-side cooled versions. Teledyne e2v HiRel is launching a new, ruggedized 650V/60A GaN power HEMT (High Electron Mobility Transistor) based on industry-leading technology from GaN Systems.
The new GaN power HEMT, TDG650E60, is the highest voltage GaN power device available on the market for hi-rel military and space applications, and is now available with both top- or bottom-side cooled options.
Gallium nitride devices have revolutionized power conversion in other industries and are now available in radiation tolerant, plastic encapsulated packaging that has undergone stringent reliability and electrical testing to ensure mission critical success. The release of the TDG650E60 GaN HEMT finally delivers to customers the efficiency, size, and power-density benefits required in critical aerospace and defense power applications.
For all product lines, Teledyne e2v HiRel performs the most demanding qualification and testing tailored to the highest reliability applications. This regime includes sulfuric test, high altitude simulation, dynamic burn-in, step stress up to 175C ambient, 9V gate voltage, and full temperature testing.
Teledyne’s TDG650E60 GaN Power HEMT boasts an extremely small form factor and leverages the patented Island Technology® from GaN Systems. This technology is a scalable, vertical charge dissipating system that gives the power transistor ultra-low thermal losses, high power density, no-charge storage, and very high switching speeds.
Unlike silicon on carbide (SIC) devices, the GaN-based TDG650E60 parts can easily be implemented in parallel to increase the load current or lower the effective RDSon. The use of exclusive GaNpx® packaging allows very high frequency switching and excellent thermal characteristics, enabling customers to significantly reduce the size and weight of power electronics.
“Teledyne e2v has a proud heritage of space products, and we are now bringing the unprecedented efficiency of GaN power to our customers,” said Mont Taylor, VP of Business Development for Teledyne e2v HiRel. “These devices enable design engineers to create highly efficient, small power supplies and motor controllers which can comfortably function in high radiation environments such as space.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
19 Dec 19. Capricorn Space collaborates with Japanese ground station specialist Infostellar. Australia-based Capricorn Space has signed an agreement with Japanese ground segment as a service provider Infostellar that will enable Infostellar customers to access their satellite constellations from the Australian Ground Network – West (AGN-W) site near Mingenew in Western Australia.
Established by Capricorn Space to provide global satellite operators southern hemisphere coverage from the Indian Ocean to across the Australian continent, AGN-W currently comprises two five-metre S/X-Band antenna systems and associated infrastructure.
The facility became operational in October 2019 after a greenfield construction program was instigated at the beginning of the year.
The site was officially inaugurated at an opening ceremony on location on 10 December 2019.
Capricorn Space CEO Mark Thompson said, “We are excited to welcome Infostellar to our family. We have been following their progress with much interest since we first contemplated the establishment of our site in Western Australia.
“Infostellar and their StellarStation platform will make it easier for their customers to secure on-demand access to their satellites as they pass within our coverage zone and we will jointly be able to deliver reliable, cost effective and timely services.”
Infostellar CEO Naomi Kurahara said, “We have noticed growing demand for S/X-Band communications, and the addition of Capricorn Space’s Western Australia site to our network means we can now offer better coverage to satellite operators looking for scalable, flexible and affordably priced ground services.”
Capricorn Space was formed with the vision of increasing the value of satellite data within the digital world. Getting data to the right people as quickly as possible maximises its value and helps organisations – commercial and government – to achieve their core objectives.
“We see Australia as an increasingly attractive place to do space business, and hope that StellarStation’s protocol- and hardware-agnostic platform will contribute to the development of a vibrant space ecosystem with lower barriers to entry,” Kurahara said.
One observation was that relatively few commercial ground stations exist in Australia and indeed the southern hemisphere. When combined with Australia’s expansive geography it became apparent that a network of ground stations across the country would greatly enhance the ability to service the LEO and MEO markets.
Capricorn Space has established an experienced team of management, technical, regulatory and business development professionals who have collectively accumulated well over 100 years of space industry experience.
Infostellar is a ground segment as a service provider offering a flexible, scalable ground station network called StellarStation.
By lowering barriers to entry in the ground segment, Infostellar empowers new space start-ups to build better missions and improve the quality of their service. Founded in 2016, Infostellar is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. (Source: Space Connect)
19 Dec 19. NASA’s X-59 QueSST research aircraft one step closer. NASA’s first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held on Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
The management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials meet again in late 2020 to approve the airplane’s first flight in 2021.
Bob Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics, said, “With the completion of KDP-D we’ve shown the project is on schedule, it’s well planned and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation’s air-travelling public.”
The X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump, if it is heard at all. It will be flown above select US communities to generate data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception.
That data will help regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.
Construction of the X-59, under a $247.5m cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, is continuing at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California.
Three major work areas are actively set up for building the airplane’s main fuselage, wing and empennage. Final assembly and integration of the airplane’s systems – including an innovative cockpit eXternal Visibility System – is targeted for late 2020.
Management of the X-59 QueSST development and construction falls under the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project, which is part of NASA’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program. (Source: Space Connect)
18 Dec 19. Elbit Systems announced today that NANOVA™, the Company’s nanosatellite was successfully launched to space. NANOVA was developed in collaboration with a U.S. company as part of the BIRD foundation initiative and is planned to be a part of a nanosatellite constellation for commercial purposes. NANOVA will be operated from a ground control station set up at the Company site in Haifa, Israel.
The NANOVA nanosatellite was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the South of India, onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. NANOVA was set out to its orbit 18 minutes from launch at an altitude of 580 kilometers.
NANOVA is a 3U (the size of a juice carton), 5kg CubeSat that hosts an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communication payload providing a direct satellite link for data, voice and text messaging.
Elbit Systems’ decades of experience in designing, manufacturing and deploying space electro-optic payloads, space structures and satellite communications together with its leadership in avionics, autonomous systems and Artificial Intelligence, provide the Company with a unique technological foundation for providing end-to-end nanosatellite constellation solutions.
Yoram Shmuely, General Manager of Elbit Systems Aerospace Division, said: “We are proud to commence activities in the area of nanosatellite constellations. We plan to continue to invest in this emerging field, expanding our sensing capabilities and the range of potential applications.”
Designed to meet strict cost-efficiency requirements, NANOVA integrates in-house mature capabilities and commercial-off-the-shelf space-hardened components, while featuring advanced UI/UX and sophisticated analytical tools. These make NANOVA an attractive solution for reliable communication services in areas with limited or no satellite coverage. Such services are required for a range of commercial applications including search and rescue operations, emergency communications from remote areas, fleet logistical and tracking management as well as Machine to Machine monitoring and sensing for a wide variety of needs.
18 Dec 19. ESA set to launch experimental ‘open source’ computer satellite. The European Space Agency (ESA) is set to launch its innovative OPS-SAT, a 3U CubeSat carrying the most powerful flight computer it has ever put into orbit.
The big deal is that anyone can apply to use OPS-SAT to space-prove their computer software.
Despite its small size, about the size of shoe box, this is an extremely capable satellite that is equipped with an Earth-observing camera, GPS sensor and startracker for navigation, reaction wheels for positioning, radio antennas and an optical data receiver as well as a very powerful processor with 8GB of memory.
“Harnessing more flight computing power than any previous ESA spacecraft, OPS-SAT will be an in-flight testbed for all kinds of promising new operational software, tools and techniques,” said OPS-SAT mission manager David Evans.
“This low-cost mission works just like an extremely complex full-sized ESA satellite in terms of its ground interfaces.
“This will allow research teams from companies, research institutes or even school computer clubs to gain early space heritage for new technologies, demonstrating new ways of running space missions into the 2020s, when the overall population of satellites in orbit is set to grow exponentially.”
So, what if someone’s experimental software doesn’t work?
Evans said OPS-SAT has a separate onboard computer ready to take over as needed if any experimental software goes wrong.
Experiments will be run on a dedicated Linux-run payload computer that features powerful chips known as fully programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which experimenters can reconfigure in orbit.
OPS-SAT was set to launch on the Arianespace Soyuz flight from French Guiana on Tuesday, along with Italy’s COSMO-SkyMed Earth-observing satellite and the ESA Cheops exoplanet-tracker and other nanosatellites.
ESA said more than 130 teams have already expressed interest in making use of OPS-SAT.
In another first for ESA, successful applicants will be given direct access to the CubeSat via the internet.
“Space is changing rapidly, and the way mission control works is changing too,” said ESA director of operations Rolf Densing.
“Companies are planning hundreds or even thousands of satellites to accomplish a given mission, in the shape of new mega-constellations planned for low orbits. Individual satellites are going to have to get smarter and more autonomous.”
Densing said OPS-SAT experiments covered topics like AI and autonomous planning, fault detection, and recognition, to allow satellites to recognise and self-correct errors, as well as new data compression and signal encryption techniques.
OPS-SAT will also try out optical communications for cryptography experiments and a ‘spectrum analyser in the sky’ experiment for radio signal monitoring. (Source: Space Connect)
18 Dec 19. Australia and New Zealand to benefit from European advances in satnav. Australia and New Zealand are positioned to gain the benefits of major advances in Europe’s satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) EGNOS, after the announcement of a significant upgrade to be delivered by Thales Alenia Space.
The $127m upgrade will expand the EGNOS SBAS coverage zone, see the installation of a new generation of reference stations (RIMS), improved algorithms in the computation centre (CPF) to boost performance, and enhanced system security. Certification and commissioning of the new service is slated for 2023.
Thales Alenia Space vice president of navigation Benoit Broudy said the company was committed to delivering the latest generation system to Australia should it be selected to deliver Australia and New Zealand’s SBAS for enhanced global positioning.
“The new version will bring significant benefits for regional aviation in Australia and New Zealand along with broader industry benefits across many sectors, from mining and resources to agriculture and transport,” Broudy said.
The EGNOS system ‘Safety of Life’ service enables aircraft to make precision approaches for landing without requiring ground-based landing aids. In addition to providing the service in Europe, Thales Alenia Space is delivering the Korean Augmentation Satellite System (KASS) and SBAS for parts of Africa.
Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said Thales has a well-established presence in Australia and proven performance in delivering complex, mission critical systems in the defence and transport sectors, and for export.
“Our record is one of long-term investment in Australia’s advanced technology sector through technology transfer, collaboration with research agencies and Australian SMEs. We are excited about the opportunities to help build Australia’s space industry capability through world leading SBAS technology in line with the statement of strategic intent signed with the Australian Space Agency,” Jenkins explained.
EGNOS, flagship program of the European Union, is the European satellite navigation system, designed to improve positioning messages from GPS (global positioning system). First deployed in 2005, with its open service operational since 2009, the current EGNOS system was developed by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor.
Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. (Source: Space Connect)
16 Dec 19. US Forces Can’t Hide from Ubiquitous Satellites. They Need to Fool Them. A new generation of deception-and-denial ideas is needed to counter global monitoring from space. We are accelerating, on the wings of 5G and long-endurance drones and low-earth-orbit satellites, toward a future where everyone will have easy access to realtime geolocation and even video of U.S. military forces. The countermeasures of past decades, from shutter control to careful timing of sensitive force movements, are all but drained of their potency. Powerful states and non-state actors alike will soon be able to track U.S. and allied military equipment, detecting patterns of training and operations.
This phenomenon — I’ve called it a GEOINT singularity — was not unpredicted. Nearly 20 years ago, a thesis titled “The End of Secrecy” by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Beth Kaspar discussed the implications of transparency to U.S. military competitiveness and recommended a variety of activities ranging from innovating new doctrine and developing fast decision-making processes to integrating camouflage, concealment, and deception both vertically and horizontally into military operations. In her work, Lt. Col. Kaspar wrote, “DoD should go back to basics and actively incorporate deception into all organizational levels and all levels of warfare.”
Typical deception and denial techniques, such as camouflage, are well known to military operators and warfighters. But these ideas must be advanced in ways that adjust to frequent and continuous monitoring in various bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. Hyperspectral sensors can identify chemical elements from space and could, in principle, make a camouflage canopy stick out like a sore thumb.
The national security community’s attempts to maintain levels of opacity or surprise by limiting commercial space-based imaging have created a false sense of security and neglected developments that are not under U.S. regulatory control. Even today, exercising shutter control — that is, ordering an American company to limit its overhead image collection at a certain time and place — is time-consuming and cumbersome. Such requests must pass from the military operator to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Secretary of Defense, and to the Secretary of Commerce, who then notifies the company operating the satellite. And these limits have no bearing on high-altitude pseudo satellites, i.e., balloons; airplanes; international space companies; or, of course, foreign governments.
Better deception and denial techniques would allow the military to dispense with the increasingly irrelevant tool of shutter control, lifting the regulatory burden on the domestic commercial remote sensing sector and helping compete on a global scale. It would also allow commercial imaging to support public messaging for national security without revealing the capabilities of government systems.
U.S. military operators should be investing now in programs to mitigate the effects of a GEOINT singularity. Advancing and developing new deception and denial techniques may appear costly at first. But the alternative may be more expensive; indeed, restricting remote sensing licenses now would simply delay the cost to a later time when existing methods have become ineffective due to the growth of foreign remote sensing capabilities. A “don’t look at me” approach to maintaining a military advantage is not feasible anymore. Instead, operators need to find new ways to hide. (Source: Defense One)
13 Dec 19. The New Control Room for Satellite Orbital Insertion has Been Inaugurated at the Telespazio’s Fucino Space Centre.
- Telespazio is the leading private operator of space innovation in Europe which makes it the most capable in managing the sensitive LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) stage of a satellite mission
- On 17th December the LEOP system will supervise the orbit insertion of the first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite. Since 1996, the Fucino Centre has handled operations for 50 satellites
- The new infrastructure confirms the commitment of Leonardo to the consolidation of distinctive skills and capabilities to oversee the whole value chain of space activities
Leonardo, through its subsidiary Telespazio (67% Leonardo and 33% Thales), today inaugurated the new LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) control room at the Fucino Space Centre in Abruzzo – the technological core for the sensitive satellite orbital insertion and testing of spacecraft.
The ceremony was attended by the Undersecretary of State of the Prime Minister’s Office designated for Space Activities, Riccardo Fraccaro, by the Military Advisor to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Admiral Carlo Massagli, by the Italian Space Agency’s President, Giorgio Saccoccia by the CEO of Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo, and the Coordinator of Leonardo Space Activities and CEO of Telespazio, Luigi Pasquali.
“The continuous investment in technologies, capabilities and infrastructures to guarantee safe and effective space operations, in light of the strong growth within this sector, is a key factor in consolidating the leadership of Leonardo in satellite services”, declared the CEO of Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo. “Leonardo – he added – through Telespazio, is the leading private operator in Europe capable of managing the LEOP stage of a satellite mission, but we are also among the most innovative companies in the marketing of services for institutions, businesses and citizens; from navigation, to geo-information, to the security of territories and infrastructures”.
The order of complexity that is managed during a LEOP activity includes up to 50,000 telemetric parameters which indicate the satellite status, with a required performance during this type of operation near to “zero error tolerance”.
Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo Space Activities, added: “Since 1996 to the present day, Telespazio has successfully carried out over 50 operations to put into orbit some of the most important international satellites, many of them carrying Leonardo technologies on board. From Fucino, we are supervising the preparatory activities to put into orbit and control the first satellite of the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation Italian constellation, which will be launched on 17th December. The new room will also represent a strategic asset for managing electric propulsion LEOPs, which will become increasingly important in the coming years”.
The role of Leonardo in COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation is not limited to the orbital insertion of the satellite. The company, in fact, also provides stellar attitude sensors for correct positioning in space; the power required for satellite and instrument operation is guaranteed by eight advanced photovoltaic panels. Multiple control and distribution units will transform sunlight into power and will manage it, maximising its efficiency to power on-board systems and subsystems. After COSMO-SkyMed, the “Piero Fanti” Centre will supervise the launch of several EUMETSAT European meteorological satellites starting from 2021.
The “Piero Fanti” Fucino Space Centre is the most important teleport in the world for civilian-use, extending over an area of 370,000 sq.m. and with 170 antennas. Besides the LEOP room, the centre has rooms dedicated to controlling the network of ground stations and flight dynamics, equally important activities in the management of a satellite mission. All facilities are manned 24- hours a day and can simultaneously handle multiple space missions. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Dec 19. What’s Congress’ end game for unified space acquisitions? A compromise defense policy bill released Dec. 9 makes some progress toward unifying military space acquisitions, but ultimately delays big decisions on creating one authority to oversee every aspect of purchasing military satellites and their related terminals and ground stations.
The bill, which passed the House Dec. 11, makes some efforts to establish a structure for space acquisitions under the newly established Space Force — a sixth branch of the military that some see as a rejiggered Air Force Space Command. The legislation would establish a new position as well as a new council to oversee space acquisitions, but questions remain. For example, the new setup does not bring all military space acquisitions under Space Force, nor does it further define the roles of existing acquisitions organizations.
The most significant result of Congress’ reshuffling is the decision to move the Space Development Agency from where it currently exists within the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’ purview to the Space Force.
Mike Griffin, the Pentagon official who oversees research and engineering, “may have wanted to keep control under his office at R&E, but realistically this is a services job,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank. “It’s the job of the military services to organize, train and equip, and the Space Development Agency is on the equipment side. And so I think it makes sense and this is going to keep that agency alive and well, whereas if it had not become part of the Space Force it very well could have floundered into irrelevancy.”
The SDA was established in March to develop a new multi-layered space architecture comprised of hundreds of satellites in low earth orbit providing a plethora of new or redundant capabilities. Whereas the vast majority of the military’s satellite systems are acquired by and controlled by the Air Force, the Space Development Agency was unique in that it reports to the under secretary.
“It always begs the question if you’ve got one acquisition organization that’s delivering one layer of missile defense and another acquisition organization that’s delivering the higher layer of missile defense, there should be coordination. There should be sharing. There should be some sort of synergy between those, so it never made sense to split the different space layers between totally different acquisition organizations,” Harrison said. “So now we put together under one unified chain of command so they’ll be able to better coordinate technology development, technology sharing, program plans, schedules, budgets.”
Critics of the SDA have expressed confusion over the need for such an organization given that it’s mission to build a new architecture of LEO small satellites could be fulfilled by the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. The agency’s relationship to the Missile Defense Agency and the Air Force has remained fuzzy to outsiders, even if it has moved forward quickly in engaging with industry and plotting out what a LEO-based architecture would look like.
Despite moving the SDA into the Air Force, the legislation doesn’t clarify the agency’s role. It exists as another organization alongside the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, which has primarily handled the service’s largest satellite contracts, and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office as part of the new Space Force.
Though the Space Force will report to the Secretary of the Air Force, mirroring the relationship between the Marines and the Navy, the compromise bill starts the process of separating space acquisitions from the rest of the Air Force’s portfolio over a three year period, further establishing Space Force’s relative independence.
The legislation renames the principal assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for space as the assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration. Congress envisions this job will be the senior architect for space systems and programs across the Department of Defense. While initially advising the Air Force’s service acquisition executive on all things space, the new position would take over all Air Force space acquisitions Oct. 1, 2022, serving as a co-equal service acquisition executive reporting to the Secretary of the Air Force. The job would oversee the Space Development Agency, the Space and Missile Systems Center and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office.
The legislation would also create a new Space Force Acquisition Council led by this new acquisition executive to ensure integration across the national security space enterprise, a long time problem for the military. The council would include the under secretary of the Air Force, the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, the chief of space operations, the assistant secretary of defense for space policy and the head of U.S. Space Command.
While the new group could increase collaboration and decrease duplication between the military and the intelligence community when it comes to space assets, the provision also points out a notable absence in Congress’ attempt to begin unifying space acquisitions. Specifically, it does not take steps to bring intelligence satellites and the few space assets controlled by other branches of the military, such as the Army and Navy, under the same roof. Instead, Congress wants a number of reports to help it decide whether that’s even an appropriate action to take.
The legislation directs the secretary of the Air Force to report on the feasibility of an alternative acquisition system for procuring space vehicles, ground segments and terminals. It also asks for a report on whether the National Reconnaissance Agency—the organization charged with procuring and operating the nation’s spy satellites—should be integrated into Air Force acquisitions systems. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
13 Dec 19. Airbus Drives OPTIMA Photonics Payload Technology to Next Level. Airbus has validated and demonstrated photonic satellite payload technology to Technology Readiness Level 6, the last level before prototype in orbit, through the OPTIMA Horizon 2020 project. This proof of concept demonstrator brings the use of photonic payloads in telecommunications satellites one step closer. Photonic payloads have the potential to revolutionise the design, capacity and capability of future generations of telecommunications satellites.
Photonic payloads will use light to transfer the signals throughout the spacecraft, replacing current radio frequency (RF) technologies, allowing for the development of more efficient and powerful satellites which are able to meet the increasing complexity and sophistication required by customers.
OPTIMA takes into account the future evolution of telecom satellite payloads and inter-satellite links which are expected to enter the terabit per second and multi-Gb/s “era” in the 2020 horizon.
OPTIMA technology enables the design of such payloads with significant reduction of mass, volume and power consumption against full microwave approaches, whereas Photonic Integrated Circuits enable low overall production and integration costs.
The technology developed in OPTIMA will see the sustained entry of photonics into telecom satellite payloads. This will enable easier capacity upgrades of multi-beam telecommunication satellites and also leverage the R&D investment to address next generation coherent inter-satellite links with fully integrated and qualified components.
Javad Anzalchi, Airbus project manager and technical lead said: “By bringing together industry partners, we have managed to develop, demonstrate, and raise the technology readiness level of photonics for applications in space. Using the low power equipments developed in OPTIMA, enables us to achieve high capacity payloads and multi-Gb/s inter-satellite links with considerable savings in power, mass and footprint.”
The OPTIMA project, led by Airbus in Stevenage and part of Horizon 2020 funded by the European Commission, comprises specialist partners from across Europe, including: DAS Photonics (Spain), CORDON Electronics (Italy), SODERN (France), Huber+Suhner Polatis (UK) and IMEC (Belgium). (Source: ASD Network)
13 Dec 19. Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) Hands Over Satellite Operations of SpooQy-1 CubeSat to SpeQtral. SpeQtral announced today that it has taken over operations of the SpooQy-1 nanosatellite on behalf of the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore. SpooQy-1 is a shoebox-sized, 3U CubeSat hosting a quantum payload developed at CQT. It was launched April 2019 and subsequently deployed from the International Space Station on 17 June 2019. The quantum payload is the world’s first entangled photon source compact enough to fit on a CubeSat and qualified for the harsh space environment.
The primary objective of the SpooQy-1 mission is to produce and characterize entangled photon pairs in space such that they violate the CHSH (Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt) Bell’s inequality. This is a core capability for future quantum communication networks. The CQT team is analysing scientific data from the mission and expects to publish results on the source’s performance in 2020.
In the meantime, CQT and SpeQtral have signed an agreement allowing SpeQtral to manage ongoing operations. Formed as a spin-out company to commercialize quantum communications technologies developed at CQT, SpeQtral will monitor the long-term performance of the quantum payload for radiation damage and other degradation effects in the space environment. This information will help guide the development of long-lived quantum systems in space, necessary for the commercial deployment of space-based QKD systems.
“Establishing a partnership for the SpooQy mission plays to all our strengths: at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, we will concentrate on scientific objectives, while SpeQtral focuses on commercial applications,” says Artur Ekert, Director of CQT.
“SpooQy-1 is pioneering quantum technologies for space-based quantum key distribution (QKD) systems,” said Chune Yang Lum, co-founder and CEO of SpeQtral, “Being involved in this mission gives SpeQtral know-how that serves our goal of delivering next-generation secure communication networks.”
SpeQtral is developing space-based, quantum communication built on technologies developed at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore. The team has developed technologies that harness the unique properties of quantum physics to enable encryption methods that can secure communications with forward security. SpeQtral is the only team with heritage from a successful on-orbit demonstration of a quantum light source on a CubeSat, and is committed to bringing future-proof security to the commercial world. Learn more at www.speqtral.space.
About Centre for Quantum Technologies
The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) is a national Research Centre of Excellence in Singapore. It brings together physicists, computer scientists and engineers to do basic research on quantum physics and to build devices based on quantum phenomena. Experts in this new discipline of quantum technologies are applying their discoveries in computing, communications and sensing. The Centre was established in December 2007 with support from Singapore’s National Research Foundation and Ministry of Education. CQT is hosted by the National University of Singapore and also has staff at Nanyang Technological University. Learn more at www.quantumlah.org. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Dec 19. UniSA start-ups launch successful space balloon. Two UniSA start-ups travelled to Petwood (south-east of Adelaide) to launch a one-storey aerial monitoring balloon, in a testing phase that will lead to a rocket launch in 2020. Space robotics start-up Lux and satellite developer ResearchSat are both participating in Australia’s first space incubator program at the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC). The two space start-ups are taking part in the ICC’s Venture Catalyst Space program, helping to growing Australia’s space sector.
Lux is building autonomous atmospheric satellites equipped with cameras that capture and transmit high-resolution aerial images in real time.
ResearchSat is developing small-satellite payloads that can take microbiological experiments to space.
For the test launch, the team sent up a helium balloon to an altitude of 30km – three times higher than a commercial aircraft – for two hours, tracked it using GPS, then burst it, safely capturing its payload attached to a parachute.
Katrina Albert, co-founder of Lux, said the successful test launch gave them critical data to refine future launches.
“We are working with miners and engineers on what valuable data we can provide them with. We are already planning pilots with three local mines next year to launch space balloons on their sites,” Albert explained.
Jibin Jeffrey Dhanaraj, aerospace engineer and chief technology officer of ResearchSat, said their device needed an external “shell” to carry out testing.
Dhanaraj added, “Our product is a subsystem of a CubeSat, so we needed an external ‘bus’ to test the functionality of the prototype and collect data. Lux’s space balloons were the perfect vehicle to make this happen. We now have enough data on our current technology ready for our major launch via rockets next year.”
Albert said being part of the Venture Catalyst Space program was very valuable to the company’s progress.
“In space, there are lots of technologies that feed into each other. For CubeSats to go into space, you need a launch platform, and our space balloons turned out to be the ideal vehicle. The university community has been a great help with connections and access to infrastructure for research purposes as well as expert mentors and advice.”
Both companies recently received awards at the GRAVITY Challenge event, with their innovative technologies helping to design and build solutions for real industry, social and environmental problems.
ICC associate director Jasmine Vreugdenburg said the ICC is the place for start-ups to receive the tools and support they need to progress towards commercialisation.
“The ICC is a place to grow and receive support and tools to build a successful company. We curate a community of like-minded people whose shared experience of success and failures benefits all involved.
“It’s great to see the start-ups working together and supporting each other to test their technologies and implement learnings together,” Vreugdenburg added.
Expressions of interest are open for the Venture Catalyst Space program, with formal applications opening in January. (Source: Space Connect)
13 Dec 19. China launches 2 rockets from Taiyuan launch centre within 6 hours. Demonstrating the cracking pace of China’s space launch sector, the country launched a pair of rockets at the weekend from the same launch site and just six hours apart. That follows a pair of launches last month in three hours, although from different sites. In the latest launches, a Kuaizhou-1A rocket blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi carrying six satellites.
That included satellites for environmental monitoring and emergency communications and for internet of things connectivity.
Six hours earlier, another Kuaizhou-1A rocket blasted off from Taiyuan carrying an Earth-imaging satellite.
According to Chinese TV, this pair of launches in quick succession marked a breakthrough for the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in its rapid launch and emergency launch capabilities.
Last month, China launched another pair of rockets in three hours, although from two different launch centres.
Confirming its place as the world’s second space power, China is set to continue its hectic launch schedule with around 30 state launches next year, not counting commercial launches.
China conducted 39 launches in 2018 – more than anyone else – including one failure and 31 so far in 2019, including two failures, with maybe more to come.
China has big ambitions for its space program. Major planned launches for 2020 include the country’s first interplanetary mission to Mars and the return of lunar samples from the Chang’e-5 mission late in the year.
The test flight of the Long March 5B, a variant of the Long March 5 developed for Earth orbit missions, is expected next year.
A successful test flight is a prerequisite for China to start launching modules for its planned space station around 2021.
SpaceNews reported that while China performs numerous launches, it still trails US and Russia for mass sent to orbit per year.
For launch numbers, the US could catch up in 2020, with SpaceX alone planning 24 launches for its Starlink constellation.
China also has many up and coming private space companies, which appear to be some way behind the state enterprises and big private western space companies.
They are moving up fast thanks to abundant capital and a system that allows private actors to draw on state-developed technology.
In July this year, iSpace became the first such firm to reach orbit. It could follow up with more launches of its Hyperbola-1 rocket next year. (Source: Space Connect)
13 Dec 19. Bonding: TriSept and Satellite Applications Catapult. TriSept Corporation has signed a comprehensive teaming agreement with Satellite Applications Catapult to explore and accelerate new innovations, missions and space access across the UK space industry and beyond.
Satellite Applications Catapult, part of the Catapult network and one of dozens of firms based at the Harwell Space Cluster, provides facilities and expertise for the benefit of the UK space sector. TriSept also announced its alliance with SA Catapult includes a full-time presence on the Harwell campus, where TriSept will expand its global launch integration services business in 2020.
As part of the collaborative alliance, the two companies will leverage their complementary strengths to package TriSept’s deep launch integration, planning, engineering and brokerage competencies with Catapult’s engineering expertise and growing test, clean room and logistics coordination facilities. Together, the duo expects to build a mission manifest for new vertical and horizontal launch sites in England and Scotland.
TriSept has enabled the launch of more than 200 satellites on 70 different missions and 20 different launch vehicles from 13 launch sites around the world, including the NASA VCLS ELaNa XIX mission that lifted 10 cubesats into orbit aboard the Rocket Lab Electron from Mahia, New Zealand in December of last year.
Satellite Applications Catapult is keenly focused on driving new space infrastructure and applications that support and accelerate the growth of the UK space industry, projected to capture a 10% share of the global space market by 2030.
Rob Spicer, TriSept President and CEO, said the company is going global to help drive space access in promising new space markets like the UK, where the firm can join its proven and trusted launch integration and brokerage skillset with companies like Catapult to contribute to new possibilities in space. By launching this international presence with Catapult within the Harwell Space Cluster, TriSept is extremely well positioned to broker and support exciting new missions in the UK. This partnership with Catapult will ultimately have a significant impact on the traditional and new space industries in the UK, Europe, and the U.S.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said this collaborative partnership between Catapult and TriSept is a significant milestone in the firm’s overall mission to stimulate innovation and economic growth across the UK space industry. TriSept’s decades of launch integration and brokerage experience combined with Catapult’s rapid-prototyping, manufacturing and testing facilities will bring unparalleled benefits to the UK space market. (Source: Satnews)
11 Dec 19. Space Fence Nearing Operational Acceptance by U.S. Air Force. When the U.S. Air Force declares operational acceptance of the Space Fence radar located on Kwajalein Atoll, it will play a critical role in providing a tactical advantage to the nation’s warfighters in the space domain.
Space Fence will use its flexibility, coverage, and sensitivity to detect and accurately track significantly more objects than the current-day catalog. This crucial capability is now one step closer to providing unprecedented space situational awareness with the system completing its developmental and operational testing phases and has entered a trial period – one of the last steps before achieving operational acceptance.
Beyond cataloging objects, Space Fence will detect closely-spaced objects, breakups, maneuvers, launches and conjunction assessments from LEO through GEO. Frequent collisions and deterioration of assets, such as defunct satellites and rocket boosters, have increased the amount of space debris and raised the risk of future collisions in space.
According to NASA’s most recent Orbital Debris Quarterly News, NASA calculates about 17.6 million pounds of objects are in earth orbit. That number will only grow as more commercial space projects launch massive constellations with thousands of smallsats, presenting a huge problem for both U.S. government and commercial organizations.
That’s where the U.S. Air Force’s Space Fence will play a crucial role.
The radar system will also play a crucial role in the everyday lives of Americans who are becoming more dependent on space-based technologies for everything from weather forecasting, banking, global communications to GPS navigation. Today, these critical services are being threatened by hundreds of thousands of objects and space debris orbiting the Earth.
Space Fence has already begun to prove its unmatched capabilities. During testing of the system in March, it detected the debris field from an anti-satellite test conducted by India. Space Fence observed a significant amount of debris tracks surrounding the time of the event, and the system proved its ability to automatically predict and correlate their next crossing times.
Space Fence uses advanced solid-state S-band radar technology. The technology includes element level digital beamforming, Gallium Nitride-based, software defined programmability that can be adapted over time to address emerging needs of the warfighter.
Dr. Rob Smith, VP and GM of Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor Systems, said Space Fence will revolutionize the way objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets are tracked and classified, critical to the national defense and economy. The Air Force Space Surveillance Network currently tracks about 25,000 objects. When Space Fence comes online, the catalog will experience significant growth and when fully operational, Space Fence will be the world’s largest and most advanced radar system, providing unprecedented space situational awareness.
In a 2019 interview with Breaking Defense, Gen. John Hyten, U.S Strategic Command commander, said of the Space Fence radar system, “I’ve been out there and the data is eye watering. It’s better than we even thought it would be.”
Once the Trial Period is successfully completed, operational acceptance of the radar will be declared by the U.S. Air Force. (Source: Satnews)
11 Dec 19. ISRO Launches Spy Satellite and Nine Foreign Ride-Along Satellites. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched their nation’s latest spy satellite RISAT-2BR1 along with nine foreign satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on December 11.
The other nine foreign satellites, along with Indian spy satellite are international customer satellites that are being launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL). Among the satellites are USA’s multi-mission Lemur-4 satellites, technology demonstration Tyvak-0129, Earth imaging 1HOPSAT, Israel’s remote sensing Duchifat-3, Italy’s search and rescue Tyvak-0092, and Japan’s QPS-SAR, a radar imaging Earth observation satellite.
The following is the statement from ISRO.
PSLV-C48 successfully launches RISAT-2BR1 and nine commercial satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its fiftieth flight (PSLV-C48), successfully launched RISAT-2BR1, an Earth observation satellite, along with nine commercial satellites of Israel, Italy, Japan and USA from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
PSLV-C48 lifted-off at 1525Hrs (IST) on December 11, 2019 from the First Launch Pad of SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. PSLV-C48 was the 75th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the 2ndflight of PSLV in ‘QL’ configuration (with 4 solid strap-on motors).
About 16 minutes and 23 seconds after lift-off, RISAT-2BR1 was injected into an orbit of 576 km at an inclination of 37 degree to the equator.
RISAT-2BR1 is a radar imaging Earth observation satellite weighing about 628 kg. The satellite will provide services in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management. The mission life of RISAT-2BR1 is 5 years.
9 Commercial satellites were also successfully injected into designated orbit. These satellites were launched under commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). (Source: Satnews)
08 Dec 19. Advantech Wireless Technologies’ Specialized C-Band 5G Filter. The concern for 5G base stations interfering with C-Band satellite signals has been addressed and conquered by Baylin Technologies Inc. (“Baylin”) (TSX: BYL) which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Advantech Wireless Technologies Inc. (“Advantech”).
This solution comes as the FCC’s recent announcement to make 280 MHz of C-band spectrum available for 5G services. This decision will accelerate the deployment of 5G services, and it will likely cause some interference with satellite service providers who operate in the C-band. The 5G rejection filters from Advantech provide a cost-effective way for C-band operators to stay on the air without having to invest in expensive equipment in order to move their services to higher frequency bands.
In the future, many cellular base station transmitters will be allocated to the 5G network. This will result in interfering signals with such high-power levels they will need to use 5G filters to maintain their quality of service.
John Restivo, President of Advantech Wireless Technologies, said that theykkkk believe that the effects of this decision will be felt, not only in the USA, but in many other regions around the world. Preparations for large-scale 5G deployments are already underway in Europe and Japan. This will prompt existing satellite operators and users of C-band to take preventive measures to protect their existing satellite links from possible interference, or even complete shutdown. With the common use of wide-band receivers, the likelihood of interference is extremely high. (Source: Satnews)
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